RICHMOND, Va. -- An estimated 3 million more Virginians are now eligible to sign-up and get the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday, according to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
Virginia is now in vaccination Phase 2, open to anyone 16 years old and older.
In Phase 2, people can be more proactive in getting a vaccine.
Instead of signing up on a waitlist and waiting to be contacted, people can head to the VaccineFinder website and it will show available vaccines in your area and a link to sign-up if there are spots available.
State officials said they're still targeting at least one dose for everyone one who wants one by the end of May, but said it could take a few weeks to get an appointment in some places where demand for the vaccine is high. In some other parts of the state, particularly rural areas, state health officials said demand for the vaccine was decreasing.
State health officials added that it would likely be fall or winter before Virginia can reach herd immunity. The reason it may take that long, they said, was because children would have to get the vaccine in order to reach 75-percent of the population. No vaccine has been approved for anyone under the age of 16 at this time.
Governor Northam said he hoped the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for children 12 and up in the coming months.
Regarding COVID restrictions, the governor said cases have plateaued recently after dropping steeply from the beginning of the year and he would be announcing changes to the restrictions in the coming weeks.
He announced two changes on Monday.
One would allow 68 runners at the starting line for cross country races up from the previous limit of 50. A second change involved performance events.
"Currently, performance events like drama, and musicals are considered social gatherings," Northam said. "I've heard a lot of feedback from parents and students that these events should be treated the same as athletic events. And I agree. So we will increase the number of people to 100 indoors or 30% of that venue's capacity. If it's outdoors, it will be increased to 500 or 30%. of capacity."
The governor said about half of adults in Virginia have received at least a first dose so far.